I began my broadcasting career in radio before moving over to TV news and have always loved the medium. The “theater of the mind” aspect of radio storytelling is so creative and magical and it’s a pleasure to listen to skilled interviewers like Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air talk with her fascinating guests.
YOU ARE THE MEDIA
In the online media world, YOU can recreate the radio experience to raise your voice and your online profile by sharing your message through “podcasting.” The Internet radio format has been around for a number of years, but now podcasting is seeing a resurgence in popularity with new and different tools and platforms.
For example, the free app called STITCHER gives listeners access to 25-thousand + podcasts and radio shows on demand on a smartphone, tablet or desktop. The podcasting field is growing but it isn't saturated yet so this is a great time to make your mark in your niche.
BENEFITS OF PODCASTING
A podcast that continually promotes your brand identity with its informative and entertaining material has many benefits. For example, when you interview known experts, their “star power” reflects on you and if they promote the interview to their "tribe," it helps you become better known and extend your reach. Interviewing influencers positions you as a credible media authority which will enhance your ability to attract a wider audience and grow your business.
In addition, you can create more inbound marketing content by linking your podcast to your blog and sharing it in your social media communities. Plus, your podcast can be distributed through multiple online platforms where it can play 24-7, ready for new audiences to discover YOU.
A podcast can be an excellent plank in a media authority platform. People are able to listen in many places where "watching" doesn't work, like in their car, while exercising or on the job.
You know how much I love video, but even if you currently do video hangouts, you can repurpose the content as a podcast and distributes it through iTunes and elsewhere. Why not produce one piece of content such as an online interview and re-use it multiple ways? Record the content once for a video, make it a podcast, a blog post, turn the transcript into a special report, a slide show, etc.
In terms of performance, hosting a show that listeners enjoy takes some skill. For example, it's important to keep your vocal energy high throughout your program. You don't need to possess a deep old-time "radio announcer voice," but you also don't want to speak in a high-pitched squeal or monotone or use excessive um's and ah's and empty phrases such as "you know" and "like" all the time.
A few practice runs should help you smooth out your delivery. It's important to pay attention to your vocal quality because since the audience has no visuals, you have only the sound of your voice to keep them engaged.
Also, please don't try to wing it through expert interviews. Before you record a podcast, take the time for show preparation. You owe it to your guests and your listeners to read background material, script the open of your show and write up some intriguing questions.
It's fine to ask impromptu questions as the interview progresses because you're listening carefully to the guest's responses and want to clarify or dive deeper, but prepare some initial questions around their expertise to get the ball rolling.
It drives me crazy when podcast interviewers stumble through guest introductions or ask closed questions that get only yes-no responses rather than open questions that elicit longer answers and get the guest expert talking.
I also dislike hearing podcast hosts go off on their own long stories and tangents instead of focusing on bringing out the best in their guests. That style may work for certain radio shows where the draw is the strongly opinionated host and the guest is simply a foil. It's unlikely most podcasters looking to build their business will win clients by exhibiting that kind of overbearing personality. (info-tainment content is the way to go.)
If podcasting sounds like fun, it can be! But recognize a podcast, like any marketing initiative, will take commitment. Producing good quality content on a consistent schedule involves work.
Start your research by listening to podcasts in your niche (and other niches, if you have time) on iTunes or Stitcher. Brainstorm ways you could add your voice and unique value proposition in a show using this medium.
Your next move would be to explore the equipment and platforms available for podcasting. Decide what tools you'll want to acquire. (I'd say a good USB microphone is a must.)
Be sure to map out a strategy for how you plan to develop interesting topics, line up guests, distribute your podcast and monetize your programs.
If you already have a podcast, let me know in the comments and I'll be sure to give it a listen!